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Behold the Dissolving Magisterium (or So They Think)

by Christopher A. Ferrara
November 3, 2016

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, whom Pope Francis has identified as his designated authentic interpreter of Amoris Laetitia, has recently (October 19) given an address in Vienna in which he enunciates what has now become the Vatican line on morality, but only (for now at least) when it comes to sins of the flesh:

“The Church’s teaching is developing, but it is developing organically. One continues to write it. The Faith does not change, but the form, the presentation of the Faith and the experiences which are being made within the Faith are changing…”

The astute reader will recognize here the classic doubletalk of the Modernist, who denies what he affirms while affirming what he denies — in this case that the Faith does not change, except that it does. Because “experiences within the Faith” change, you see, along with the “form” of the Faith.

But what do “experiences with the faith” have to do with universal, exceptionless moral precepts that apply to everyone on the planet under the natural law, regardless of what they believe? And how can the “form” of the faith change while the faith does not? The claim is utter nonsense, but utter nonsense — always tending in the direction of subversion of doctrine and discipline — is the stock and trade of Modernism.

All Schönborn really means — as if anyone did not know by now — is that people who are divorced and “remarried” and thus living in a continuous state of public adultery may now be admitted to Holy Communion without ceasing their adulterous sexual relations, and that the Church’s bimillenial teaching and discipline to the contrary are to be abandoned. But only in “certain cases.” And which cases are those? All cases, of course, as the exception quickly becomes the rule and the rule the exception in the chaotic landscape of the post-conciliar Church, as our bitter experience in so many other departments has confirmed.

In other words, as Schönborn would have it, certain Catholics will now be given a license to commit adultery because, after all, divorce and “remarriage” is not always such a bad thing — no matter what Our Lord and every Pope before Francis said to the contrary. Schönborn even helpfully observes (according to the interviewer) that “[i]f his mother had remarried, his siblings and he would have understood it, even if it would have been difficult for them, according to the cardinal. ‘It is something else when someone is ready to walk a path together with this woman with four children, but it is different when someone willfully leaves an intact family and thus breaks the relationship’.”

So, you see, there are the “good” adulterers who have a really, really good excuse for their adultery, and then there are the bad adulterers, who have no excuse. But if a good excuse exempts one from the natural law on marriage, why not the natural law against any and all other forms of immorality, including sodomy, or, for that matter, the other sins Francis never ceases to denounce, such as the one he recently invented: the “sin against ecumenism”? Do not expect consistency from a Modernist! Right now, the plan is to give a pass on adultery to certain adulterers (meaning ultimately all of them, more or less). Never mind the implications!

Schönborn's claim that abandonment of the prior teaching and Eucharistic discipline respecting the divorced and “remarried” — rooted in the words of Our Lord Himself — is an “organic development” of doctrine is a blatant fraud. But then theological fraud is another item in the Modernist stock and trade.

In Section 6 of his famous Essay on the Development of Doctrine, Cardinal Newman exposes the fraudulence of this typically Modernist attempt to pass off a contradiction of prior teaching as a development thereof:

“As developments which are preceded by definite indications have a fair presumption in their favour, so those which do but contradict and reverse the course of doctrine which has been developed before them, and out of which they spring, are certainly corrupt; for a corruption is a development in that very stage in which it ceases to illustrate, and begins to disturb, the acquisitions gained in its previous history.”

There is no question that Amoris Laetita, as it is now being “implemented”, represents a contradiction and reversal of the teaching of John Paul II and Benedict XVI that the reception of Holy Communion by one who purports to “remarry” following a divorce is “intrinsically impossible” — I repeat, intrinsically impossible — without cessation of the adulterous sexual relationship.

Behold the dissolving Magisterium. Or so they think. For in reality, this attempted corruption of doctrine, absolutely without precedent in the history of the Church, binds no one and excuses nothing, but only incurs the wrath of Almighty God.

May the intervention of Our Lady of Fatima spare us from the ultimate consequences of this insanity!